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Eating nuts may be the elixir to a longer and healthier life

Eating nuts may be the elixir to a longer and healthier life.

In the largest study to date, findings revealed that eating a handful of nuts everyday, people were less likely to die from a variety of diseases.

Nuts are high in unsaturated fats, rich in fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate and vitamin E and have been previous linked to lower risks of heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.

The 30-year study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine was conducted by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School who looked at the association of how eating nuts affects mortality.

76,464 women between 1980 and 2010 in the Nurses' Health Study and 42,498 men from 1986 to 2010, took part in in the studies, filling out detailed food questionnaires every two to four years and with each food questionnaire, participants were asked to estimate how often they consumed nuts.

The study found that people who eat nuts daily have a twenty percent lower death rate than individuals who did not eat nuts, while the risk of dying of heart disease dropped 29 percent and the risk of dying of cancer fell eleven percent among those who had nuts seven or more times a week compared with people who never ate them.

They also debunked the perception that nuts are fattening, finding that nut eaters are actually slimmer, exercised more and were less likely to smoke.

Reseachers couldn’t determine whether any specific type of nut had more benefits than others because the reduction in mortality was similar for peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pecans, cashews, pistachios and pine nuts.

While the study did uncover an association between eating nuts and living longer, they couldn't prove cause-and-effect.

“This is an observational study, so it's not absolute in terms of proof," said study senior author Dr. Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "But prior studies suggest health benefits like a lower risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, and lower cholesterol, among other health outcomes."

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